A bad day up the mast - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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Only on a mast head sheeve for me!
The guy doing the cranking is the one I feel sorry for.

Courtney is My Hero

If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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post #22 of 50 Old 09-23-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Uhh, if you truly value your life, never, ever go up the rig on a halyard that does not run through a masthead sheave...

Am I understanding this correctly, you actually went up an external (spinnaker or similar) halyard? You're a far braver man than I, Dave... (grin)
My spinnaker halyard is internal and comes out of the mast about three feet down from the truck. Worst case I'd fall six feet (ouch). My two jib halyards and main halyard are wire to rope and the splice always makes me nervous. You have what you have.

The rig is 15/16ths so the jib halyards aren't high enough anyway.

I did have a safety line around the mast. On my three-spreader rig there is something to hold onto and I don't let go until I have a carabiner on a six inch long web clipped in.

I went back up on the topping lift (all fiber) with the main as a safety (wire to rope) and managed not to drop anything in replacing the spinnaker block.

Of course the original task ended up to be more substantial than expected so more parts have to be ordered and I'll have to go up again. *sigh*

I'll still go up on the spinnaker with the topping lift as a safety plus my webbing second safety.

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Originally Posted by bobperry View Post
I send my wife up.
She kind of likes it.
I don't like heights.
She's better with tools than I am anyway.
MY partner is much better with heights than I am but unlike your bride isn't better with tools. *grin*

It is good to have an electric winch. Seriously - the smooth lift of an electric winch is much easier on the victim up the stick than grinding up.

sail fast and eat well, dave
S/V Auspicious
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beware "cut and paste" sailors.


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post #23 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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I thought a prussic around the mast is fairly standard. I have not gone aloft on anything bigger than a 30 footer but for a relatively short mast it was easy to use a stirrup off the prussic and assist the winch man. You also need another short line to loop around the mast when you get to the spreader so that the prussic can be retied above the spreader without having to rely only on the halyard.
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post #24 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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Something you guys might want to consider is having your grinder stop a foot or so before he has you at full hoist. Then using your prussic knot, attach your stirrups high up on the mast and step up into them. The masthead will then be about waist height which is far better than chin height when working on things up there. You of course will also be using your safety strap to keep yourself from flailing around. Another hint is to come down via the headstay. That way you won’t get so banged up on things. I learned these tricks back when I used to be the lightest guy on the boat.
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post #25 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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Two halyards, double figure eight, and hopefully someone you owe money to on the deck.
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post #26 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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Not a chance I'd get my wife to go up.... sheesh....

Fractional rigs are problematic in that area... if you need to get to the masthead there are far fewer options/halyards that go that far. We do have a messenger line in a second masthead sheave.. one of these days I'll have to reeve a serious line through there.

Dave, glad you made it through that.. must have been a heart stopping moment!

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #27 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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We have been using the MAST MATE climber lately and seldom use a halyard. It is possible to use it when going up while alone, in conjunction with harness and double tether for passing spreaders, etc.
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post #28 of 50 Old 09-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I always go up on TWO halyards.
I have become complacent and only use one, but from now on I will use two.

Thanks for the possible life saving reminder.


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post #29 of 50 Old 09-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leocat66 View Post
We have been using the MAST MATE climber lately and seldom use a halyard. It is possible to use it when going up while alone, in conjunction with harness and double tether for passing spreaders, etc.
Yup, I’m with you, that’s far and away the best way to go aloft, for me… Far more secure than dangling, easily done alone with no need for an assistant… Especially useful for a project that might require numerous trips in succession up and down, quicker and much less tiring than hoisting yourself… Fantastic product, only time I ever dangle using a harness is if I have to go out the the spreaders…

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
My spinnaker halyard is internal and comes out of the mast about three feet down from the truck. Worst case I'd fall six feet (ouch). My two jib halyards and main halyard are wire to rope and the splice always makes me nervous. You have what you have.

Well, that’s a relief – I figured you were smarter than that (grin)…

My spinnaker halyard is the same, it re-enters the mast about 5 feet below the crane… Still, I’d likely die of a heart attack, as a result of such a drop, I’m a complete wimp when it comes to going up the rig…

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
It is good to have an electric winch. Seriously - the smooth lift of an electric winch is much easier on the victim up the stick than grinding up.
That's true, as long as one never loses sight of the fact that an electric winch is one of the potentially most dangerous pieces of gear that one can put on a boat... Right up there with a chartplotter, IMHO... (grin)

The use of an electric winch for such a purpose comes with one very important caveat. A self-tailing mechanism should NEVER be used when hoisting a person aloft, and you have to have a plan to cut the power to the winch in the event something goes wrong with the switch…

A horrific accident occurred in Antigua last winter aboard an Amel, while a woman was hoisting her husband up the rig using a self-tailer… The switch failed and would not cut off, and in her attempt to remove the line from the self-tailer while under load, her hands became caught up in the winch…

Fair warning, the following account is pretty gruesome, I can’t imagine the horrific scene that ensued:

Quote:
Two people from the yachting fraternity were injured in a freak accident on Saturday that left one man with several fingers missing and a woman with her left hand severed from her wrist.

Information surrounding the incident remained sketchy at the time of going to press. However, The Daily OBSERVER understands that some time after 5 pm, the Venezuelan woman was using a motorised lift to hoist her husband onto the mast (the metal frame that holds the sail) to make some repairs.

Reports are that the woman soon realised that something was mechanically wrong with the lift and fearing for the safety of her husband, who was already several feet in the air, she attempted to stop the equipment.

However, her left arm became trapped as the machine continued moving upwards.

Hearing her screams, a yachtsman from a neighbouring boat went to her assistance while the husband watched on helplessly.

The would-be rescuer soon realised that he could not help the woman and called for further assistance. Another yachtsman from Switzerland answered the call and in his attempts to free her, he too became trapped and eight of his fingers were severed.

The woman then tried to free her left hand, using her right hand and that hand too became trapped. Her left hand was completely severed at the wrist while her right hand was crushed, which resulted in several broken bones.

The two were rushed to Mount St John’s Medical Centre, where doctors attempted to reattach the severed hand and fingers.

It is reported that the vessel was docked at the Jolly Harbour Pier at the time of the incident.

Freak accident leaves woman with severed hand | Antigua Observer Newspaper

Last edited by JonEisberg; 09-24-2011 at 08:06 AM.
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post #30 of 50 Old 09-24-2011
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Safety, safety, safety first! I suspect that a lot of sailors who come from an office-type working background may not be totally aware of the risks of working with mechanical advantage, high loads, and pinch points. Conversely, those of us who come from a construction / oil rig / seafaring background may be complacent...all receipes for disaster!

I use an ascender on a quick draw (available at a climber's supply) to clip the rings on my bosun's chair to a spare haliyard. This is my back up. I usually tie the hoist halyard (either the main or jib, depending on which side of the mast I am working) with a double figure of eight; if using a bowline, I tape the tail with electrical tape. Our halyards are all-rope. My wife raises me using the drum on the anchor windlass - ours is a horizontal windlass located below deck level in the anchor locker. She tails from one side, with her foot on the deck switch, ready to stop in an instant. We use a block tied to the toe rail to adjust for a fair lead from the mast to the windlass. If she needs to stop or adjust the line, I have the ascender as a backup and can carefully transfer my weight to this. When I reach my vertical destination, she cleats off the halyard to a deck cleat with wraps still on the windlass drum. No one is allowed on deck under the mast while I am aloft. Despite this thorough approach, I am sure there is still room for improvement. I am thinking of putting a couple of folding mast steps about four feet below the masthead for a better work platform. I also suspect a climber's harness would work better than a bosun's chair. I am also experimenting with a 3-1 purchase system to raise myself up solo. Everything must be carefully evaluated and procedures changed as the mast climbing system evolves. Mast climbing is a deadly serious business.
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